BOOK Award winners announced

Story by Mykaela Cross, Assistant Editor

The 2015 annual BOOK Award program winners have been announced after several BU students recently wrapped up their summer internship projects with campus presentations.

The Baker Organizational Observation for Knowledge program is an internship opportunity that allows students to intern at a business in their major and learn the company inside and out. Once they’ve completed their internship, students summarize their research and experience into a presentation that is judged by a panel of nine Baker alumni.

This year, senior Gunnar Hays was awarded the $1,500 grand prize, junior Lauren Freking and senior Trevor Sutton were awarded $750, while seniors Hayley Morrical, Taylor Chase and Lexi Nyoni were awarded $300.

During their time interning over the summer, students interact with and seek out professionals in their fields and are able to network with company employees ranging from other interns to CEOs. For Baker’s Director of Career Services Susan Wade, the networking opportunity is one of the reasons she is a strong supporter of the program.

“In order to do this well, the students have to connect with people outside of where they’re actually working,” Wade said. “It helps them learn how to network and build relationships outside of their departments, usually with upper management and directors of the organization.”

With 15 participants, this year’s program had more contestants than usual. As an advocate for the program, Wade is glad to see BOOK grow and is even noticing it being adopted in other university’s programs.

“Other universities have picked up this idea and are using it in their internship program because often students will go in and just learn about the little department their working in,” Wade said. “But this helps them get out and learn about the entire management of the organization and its history. A student who goes in to shadow a surgeon also learns about the hospital’s fundraising, their human resources and their operations, so they really gain so much more from the experience than a normal internship opportunity.”

Though she only has the opportunity to witness a few of the presentations, she is always impressed with what the students learn and their confident presenting habits.

“BOOK winners are excellent employment candidates down the road because they can speak so well about the company that they intern for and talk about the fact that they talked to the CEO and director of human resources and built those relationships,” Wade said.

This year marked the second time Nyoni participated in the program. Because of her previous experience, she felt more prepared walking in and was able to get more from her experience.

“I knew what to expect, but I was excited for it because it was a great way to reflect on how I had grown and what I had learned from last year,” Nyoni said. “I interned at an accounting firm in St. Louis where I did a lot of accounting stuff. I got to travel and network, it was great.”

Nyoni found the program experience to be busy, but could not find one particular part she loved best.

“I think the whole internship was a great experience,” Nyoni said. “We had client experience, networking events, intern social service projects; we got to travel, go to Disney World, and I met 1000 other interns who went through the same thing I did.”

Though the thought of presenting to a panel of nine judges would seem daunting to some students, Nyoni was rather excited to share what she had learned.

“Presenting about it was actually a joy because I had enjoyed my experience and wanted to talk about it,” Nyoni said. “It’s a great program students should go for it. it gives you the opportunity to look at your internship in a different perspective, plus you get to walk others through your experience.”

After his second year participating, Sutton still finds the program to be a beneficial experience.

“It really is a great opportunity, because it’s not necessarily just about the industry,” Sutton said. “You also learn more about business and how it’s pieces all work together, rather than having a single narrow minded perception of the company.”

Wade strongly encourages students to participate in BOOK, though she believes that any opportunity to expand internship experience is both “valuable and critical” to the student experience.

“It gives students that opportunity and challenge, and provides a reason to go and visit those professionals and ask questions, and as a result, it gives them a much broader view of the organization,” Wade said. “Students like doing it and employers are very impressed with it too.”